Aarrelabel garments are produced in our own factory, Black Moda Portugal, Lda. Our knits are produced by Elmate, Lda. The Dot –collections and our bath articles are produced by Somani, Lda. Our fabric supplier is Armaco, Lda and the woven articles are manufactured by Youngstar, Lda. The only product that is produced outside of Portugal is our hosiery, which is produced in Italy.
Portugal is an EU country, which is not considered a country of risk. In Portugal working life is regulated by law and enforced by the authorities. Portugal has ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) Treaties. In accordance with the principles of the ILO, all its Member States have the duty to eliminate forced labor, child labor and discrimination and to guarantee freedom of association. In recent years, the main objective of the ILO has been to implement Decent Work globally.
Responsibility for the employees, suppliers and products of our own factory lies with Riikka Oliveira, CEO of our factory. Suppliers and partners adhere to ecological and ethical values of our brand. All of Aarrelabel suppliers are given a Code of Conduct, which includes social responsibility and environmental requirements for our suppliers.
Our own sewing company is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 class I certified. This means that our products are free of pesticides, heavy metals or formaldehyde residues that are harmful to our health. In addition, the REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), which applies in the European Union and came into force in 2007, places greater responsibility on industry when it comes to the risks that chemicals can pose to the environment or health. All of our organic cotton is GOTS and BCI certified. Our partners also have Oeko-Tex certified production. During 2020, all our suppliers will be supplied with Aarrelabel’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which includes social responsibility and environmental requirements for our suppliers. By the end of July 2020, the Supplier Code of Conduct has been signed by all Aarrelabel suppliers. The implementation of the Supplier Code of Conduct is monitored through annual supplier surveys and the monitoring is reported in annual sustainability reports. We are committed to ensuring that everyone who works in Aarrelabel’s productions is paid a living wage. We monitor this through annual supplier surveys and report on its results in an annual sustainability report. In raw material procurement, we prefer GOTS-certified cotton and BCI cotton, and these certification schemes are part of supply chain control, such as control of social conditions and the environmental impact of production. In addition, we visit our Portuguese suppliers every year to monitor the implementation of the Code of Conduct. In 2020, one of the board members of Aarrelabel has visited Portuguese suppliers for a total period of three months.
Portugal has a law on working time. In the textile industry working time is 40 hours per week and overtime is 1 hour per day. The law allows 2 hours per day and overtime is paid as stated in the Portuguese law. Possible overtime is agreed with the employee and overtime compensation is paid.
The wage level in the textile and clothing industry internationally is relatively low. Many brands are looking for the lowest possible price in Asia and, at an accelerating pace, also in Africa. Not everyone can get into that price competition – especially when the well-being of workers and the environment is also weighed down. In Portugal, the statutory minimum wage in 2019 was € 600 per month.
Our employees in the factory get at least the Portuguese minimum wage or higher, depending on the job description. In addition to sewing personnel, our factory also employs production designers, designers and model masters, cutting and warehouse personnel.
Annual salary increases are also added to salaries in accordance with laws and regulations.
In 2019 our factory employed 71 people. In total Black Moda Portugal, Lda paid 659 894,86 € in salaries. The amount includes extra times and bonuses. In 2019 our factory paid 17 203,58 € extra time.
Our own sewing company complies with the obligations of the Portuguese authorities regarding working time laws, holidays and maternity and parental leave. A parent breastfeeding a child may work a reduced six-hour day for a maximum of two years, though the salary is paid for a full eight hours. If the baby is not breastfed, but fed with formula, the other parent can also work shorter hours, but then switch to eight hours when the child reaches the age of one.
Black Moda Portugal works 11 months in a year. The summer holiday is one month’s salary and the holiday pay equals to one month’s salary. In addition, employees receive holiday pay equivalent to one month’s salary during Christmas.
Private occupational health and safety services guarantee a healthy and safe work environment for our workers. Occupational health and safety services have been outsourced. The services are supplied by Segurihigiene / Viva Mais. There is a solidarity agreement with our sewing company and the company providing occupational health services. In practice, this means that in the event of serious deficiencies in the controls and audits carried out by the authorities, Black Moda Portugal, Lda and Segurihigiene are both responsible for the faults. The occupational physician and the nurse visit the factory once a year and all workers undergo an annual health check-up. The worker will be referred for medical treatment if anything requiring treatment comes up in the health check. Otherwise, if the employees need to see a doctor, they can contact Segurihigiene and make an appointment.
The supervisor at our factory is responsible for ensuring occupational safety. Also the occupational safety technician visits the factory once a year to check and audit the working conditions. The visit shall be the subject of an official report, which is then submitted to the labor inspectorate. Possible shortcomings shall be mentioned in writing and a rectification visit shall be made to rectify the shortcoming. The Portuguese State collects occupational health and safety information from all companies once a year to a database. The information is posted on an official website on the Internet and the disclosure of this information is required by law.
The personnel manager at Black Moda Portugal ensures that each employee has up-to-date information on employment and occupational safety issues. The main points of these are summarized on the notice board of the sewing shop and there are links on the notice board for further information. In addition, a performance review is conducted twice a year with each employee.
Our own sewing company maintains the skills of its employees through a continuous vocational training program and provides vocational training to all employees every year. This training is provided by MODATEX, a Portuguese vocational training center for the textile, clothing and wool industries. In 2018 we provided 40 hours of training and the topic was Teamwork. In 2019, the topic was Quality.
Our main supplier for fabrcis and yarns is Armaco, Lda.
To ensure that our corporate values are also realized in our subcontracting chain, Armaco and Black Moda Portugal share a responsible staff member focused on sustainability.
In this way, we develop responsibility in the fabric production, e.g. promoting the selection and development of greener materials and ensuring that our supplier agreement and values are implemented in our chain.
One of Aarrelabel’s owners and partners – Riikka Oliveira – also visits Armaco’s premises several times a year.
In addition to this, we conduct an annual responsibility survey for Armaco, Lda, which seeks to monitor the development. In the responsibility survey, we inquire e.g. wage by job, accidents at work and sick leave. Our responsibility survey is divided into three parts: economy, people and environment.
The printing house that dyes and prints the fabrics for us has a statutory water treatment plant with a pH control system. At the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the water is pre-treated before being discharged into the City Wastewater Treatment Center. Color recipes are made by automation, so the loss of color chemicals is minimal. The dyes are treated in tubes so that they do not enter the respiratory tract.
In 2018, the printing house introduced Higg-Index, a toolkit developed by Sustainable Apparel Coalition that helps brands, retailers, and businesses of all sizes to measure and evaluate the sustainability of a company or product. The Higg Index enables companies to make significant improvements to the well-being of factory workers and local communities and to protect the environment.
In addition, the printing house is GOTS certified. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standars) is an organization that promotes organic textiles and is the world’s leading certification system for organic textiles. GOTS defines high environmental criteria, covering the entire organic textile production chain from farm to cloth, and also requires compliance with social criteria. All processes in cotton production are approved by GOTS.
The printing house has been a Bluesign partner since 2012. This partnership ensures that only products and dyes that are properly tested and approved and that do not contain any substances that are harmful to humans or the environment are used in the dyeing and finishing process.
Cotton is our most important and most used raw material and most of it is organic. We use GOTS certified organic cotton purchased from Turkish cotton wholesalers. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) is the world’s leading standard for the processing of organic fiber textiles.
Organic cotton fiber is further processed in northern Portugal, where it is spun into yarn or the yarn is already spun when it reaches Portugal. Basic yarns are usually spun in Turkey and specialty yarns such as custom and specialty blends are spun in Portugal. Our partner Armaco, Lda manufactures all the fabrics used in our tricot products. In addition to knitting, Armaco also coordinates the printing and dyeing of our materials.
Dyed and printed fabric is then transported to our factory for storage, cutting and sewing. Production waste is recycled. Recycling is handled by Black Moda Portugal.
The wool we use in our knits is mainly mulesing-free merino wool and wool polyamide blended yarns. We use organic cotton and recycled polyester in our terry products. The “Bubble” series polyester is also recycled. Most of our woven products are linen and organic cotton.
Completed orders are delivered by truck from Portugal to Finland to our warehouse in Pirkkala or directly to our dealers. Shipments requiring rapid response, such as prototypes or color and pattern samples, are sent from Portugal to Finland by air to the Pirkkala office.
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